Report: Berri, Hezbollah still support Franjieh, to only discuss names via dialogue
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Hezbollah continue to support Marada leader Suleiman Franjieh as a presidential candidate, Shiite Duo sources told al-Jadeed.
The only way to discuss names is through dialogue, the sources said.
Berri had called for parliamentary blocs to engage in a seven-day dialogue, following which open presidential election sessions would be held. The blocs opposed to Hezbollah have refused to take part in talks to agree on a president before proceeding with a vote, preferring to rely on the democratic process, while Hezbollah's old ally, the Free Patriotic Movement cautiously approached the issue.
At first, FPM chief Jebran Bassil lauded Berri's initiative but later criticized it.
At an FPM ceremony Sunday celebrating his new term as FPM chief, Bassil said "let's engage in dialogue" to reach the election of a "reformist president with reformist characteristics" based on "an agreed-on reformist program."
Sources close to Berri told al-Jadeed that dialogue should not be linked to presidential priorities and that Bassil should either accept or reject a dialogue that would discuss the president's name and not presidential priorities.
Berri said he will call for the dialogue in early October, and stressed that all parties must participate for it to be fruitful.